Software and AppsTech

Microsoft debuts Azure Synapse Analytics, updates database offerings

Workflow automation was a predictable focus as Microsoft Ignite kicked off in Orlando, Florida this morning. To this end, the company took the wraps off new cloud-hosted AI, data analytics, and managed database services in preview and announced updates to existing offerings like Azure SQL Database Edge.

Perhaps the headliner is Azure Synapse Analytics, a service now in preview that leverages on-demand or provisioned resources to ingest, prepare, manage, and serve data for business intelligence and AI apps. It’s the evolution of Azure SQL Data Warehouse and pulls together insights from data warehouses and big data analytics systems across entire organizations.

Azure Synapse can query both relational and non-relational data at “petabyte-scale,” directed by lines of SQL. Features like intelligent workload management, workload isolation, and limitless concurrency optimize the performance of queries in real time, and deep integration with Power BI and Azure Machine Learning simplifies the sharing of cleansed and processed data.

A unified workspace — the Azure Synapse studio — provides tools for data prep, data management, data warehousing, big data, and AI tasks. Additionally, it lets users manage data pipelines and build proofs of concept while securely accessing data sets and custom control interfaces.

Azure SQL Database Edge

Azure SQL Database Edge, a small-footprint database engine for edge devices, is now available in preview following an unveil in May. By way of a refresher, it migrates many of the capabilities offered by Microsoft’s Azure SQL Database and SQL server to hardware-constrained devices. Azure SQL Database Edge supports Arm- and x64-based edge gateways and machines and delivers low-latency analytics that combine data streaming and time-series data with in-database machine learning and support for graph data.

Database Edge’s other spotlight features include policies that protect data at rest and in motion, as well as a programming surface in common with Azure SQL Database and SQL Server and support for cloud-connected and fully decentralized edge scenarios. Database Edge furthermore plays nicely with Power BI, Microsoft’s business analytics service that facilitates the creation of reports, dashboards, and more.

Azure Cloud Databases

Azure Cloud Databases for PostgreSQL Hyperscale is now generally available, Microsoft announced. For the uninitiated, Citus Data’s Hyperscale — an extension to PostgreSQ — horizontally scales single databases across hundreds of nodes to allow more data to fit in-memory, parallelizing queries and boosting indexing speeds in the process.

Microsoft also debuted new Azure SQL Database hardware options with up to 400% more memory and compute, alongside the integration of Azure SQL Database with Power Apps and Azure Stream Analytics.

Also announced were more flexible purchasing options across relational and non-relational databases and Azure SQL Database serverless, which automatically pauses compute during periods when the database is inactive and automatically resumes it when activity returns. Finally, Autopilot mode for Azure Cosmos DB — Microsoft’s service offering that delivers automatic scaling of provisioned throughput based on workload patterns — launched in preview.

Venture Beat

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